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Western Kentucky Film Review: Second Quarter

Louisville’s defense continued to dominate as the offense started to get going.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports


I really loved this play by Hassan Hall to pick up the free rusher and allow Micale Cunningham a lane to the endzone. This is the normal inside zone play action that they run a lot where the Tight End is responsible for the backside edge and the Running Back has to take any free runner coming through the gap left open by the offensive line blocking down like they do. Hall does a great job against a blitzer with a free shot at Cunningham.

This is something we should see more this year as teams try to come after Cunningham and fluster him. They have everyone in man coverage which is not the smartest idea but that’s pretty much the norm when you blitz. Cunningham evades the rusher and it’s an easy run for a touchdown. We might see teams try to spy when they blitz down the road but that just means more single coverage against a very good group of receivers.


Monty Montgomery had a great game and this was my favorite play that he made. The reason for that is that Louisville rotated some guys into the game and they got the same result they got in the first quarter. CJ Avery and Dorian Etheridge were able to shoot through and make plays in the backfield and the backup front three along with Montgomery were able to replicate what the full first team was able to do. I think that’s really important.

I also love that Isaiah Hayes is filling right behind in run support. This is the design of the call and I think it will be a call we see a lot this year. If teams don’t spread the field, Bryan Brown will happily bring aggressive run blitzes and trust his corners and Russ Yeast to defend the back end. Personally, I love it.


I think we’ll see this call a good amount against Miami when Louisville gets them in second and long. It’s shell type of defense with both middle linebackers in a short zone as well as spying. The Tight End running down the middle of the field gets picked up and he has a Safety over top of him. Anything short is either taken away or it’s stopped quickly like we see here.

The key here is the three man rush staying in their lanes as well as not getting too far up the field. You can see the end at the bottom of the screen actually stop his rush to try to keep contain. It’s not about getting to the QB as much as it’s about not giving him an easy running lane. On the next play they ran the same defense and when the QB ran, he was hit immediately and they got the stop. They have to force teams to put long drives together.


This play was blocked better than what we saw in the first quarter. Ean Pfiefer gets really good push on the edge and Marshon Ford blows up his guy in the hole. That gives an escape route to Javian Hawkins and he does a great job of bouncing this outside to get maximum yardage. He would’ve gained five or so yards if he kept it inside but he gets extra yardage by reading his blocks well.


It’s always good when your Running Back scores a on a 19 yard run without being touched. Cam DeGeorge gets a pancake at right tackle. Robbie Bell gets a great chip on the guy in front of him then seals the Linebacker. Cole Bentley does a good job to get his head around the Defensive Tackle after Bell’s chip and takes him out of the play. Then you have Corey Reed getting a great collision block down the field which is all you need for Hawkins.

I don’t think you could block this any better. Even the backside guys do their job perfectly. Adonis Boone gets a cut on the backside end and Caleb Chandler walls off the backside Linebacker. They had a rough start but it’s great to see them improve like this as the game went on.


This is a different run call against a run formation. Earlier we saw them bring a Linebacker with Hayes filling behind him. Here we see them fire a corner from the short side and the Linebackers stay back and sift through blockers to make the play. Still an aggressive call but with the pressure coming from a different spot.

I really liked how all three Defensive Linemen played this. Zach Edwards is at the bottom of the screen and he uses his quickness to “get skinny” and beat the blocker to the inside. That disrupts two blockers. I can’t tell who is in the middle but he just pushes his guy into the backfield. That leaves two Linebackers to beat once off balance Center to make the tackle. Derek Dorsey does a really good job of taking on a double team on this play. He doesn’t end up factoring into the tackle but I promise you that Mark Ivey gave him props for this when they went over film.


Louisville made the same mistake that WKU did by putting everyone in man coverage on a blitz but not spying the QB. Russ Yeast does a good job timing his blitz but the Running Back does a great job seeing it and making a nice block. The other side of the blitz gets a bit clogged and CJ Avery ends up not being able to get through and now there’s a huge hole and a bunch of space to run.

UofL only allowed 2.3 yards per play in the first half outside of this play and the long throw in the first quarter. That’s dominant.


Louisville gets WKU in second and long again and we see another look from the defense. You can see the two Linebackers attack this play at the snap like a run blitz of sorts with all of the third level defenders with their feet at the sticks. You have six guys in the box with one deep safety. Essentially, if this is a run to the back, you have guys filling all the gaps. If it’s a pass, you are bringing pressure and the ball has to come out. You should have everyone covered to stop a first down. Nothing should get deep with the pressure plus you have a Safety deep. I think I’m going to start calling these plays “measured pressure”.


Hey, it’s option to the short side. My most hated call. But I love that they’re getting Hawkins and Hall in the backfield together. I think this play works if they have more space but Marshon Ford also misses his block here. Eli Brown (#32) also deserves credit for playing this really well. He splits the difference well and doesn’t commit to Cunningham.

I hate the call but I love the play. Hopefully we continue to see them roll out all of these different packages. I have no clue how you prepare for this as a defense.


I won’t ever get tired of seeing RPOs in Louisville’s offense. They’ve kept them pretty consistent but with different personnel. This is really no different than what we saw when Evan Conley broke his big run against Wake Forest. You fake or give up the middle. You get outside and read the split defender (#31). Then you make a decision to keep it or pass it outside.

There’s no motion like we saw last year and Tutu is the receiver but it’s essentially the same design. I’m really interested to see if they work slants into the RPO package.


Hassan Hall has worked on his patience over the last year and it has really improved. This was the second straight run where he slowed down his feet at the line and waited for a block to develop. He got a first down on the first run and then he ripped off this long one after. Robbie Bell does a good job to get out into space and get a nice block on the Linebacker. Renato Brown does well to take on a Safety in space and actually gets control of him without holding.

Isaac Martin is the key on this play as he gets a full speed DeAngelo Hall collision and bounces back to get enough of him to give Hall room to run. This isn’t a pretty play but it took everyone doing all they could to make it work. These are the fun plays.


I would love to know what UofL’s touchdown percentage is on goal-to-go plays. It always looks so simple for them and it’s because they bring the the creativity of the entire playbook when most teams condense things. Ford has scored on this play multiple times in the last year and I can’t imagine how you stop it. You have to pick between stopping the pass or letting Cunningham run it in. No one seems to be able to stop it yet.